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Artful deal for Aboriginal people

Host First Nations groups sign licensing and merchandising agreement

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The four host First Nations for the Olympics have made a deal with VANOC, which will see Aboriginal art from across the country showcased and a new licensing and merchandising program put in place.

The agreement provides a framework to allow parties to develop licensed retail products in four keys areas: Aboriginal art and products, integrating Aboriginal graphics into Vancouver 2010 branded merchandise, products featuring the Four Host First Nations logo, and other products featuring Aboriginal themes and icons.

One-third of VANOC’s royalties from sales of these products will go into a fund for Aboriginal youth, to support education, sport and cultural initiatives.

“Today is an important day for our people. Together with VANOC and our Aboriginal partners we are writing history by celebrating our diversity. Our young people are our future and we hope to inspire and support them as they build their dreams,” Tewanee Joseph, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer for the Four Host First Nations, said in a press release issued Wednesday.

The Government of Nunavut signed on as the first program participant from outside of British Columbia, through its The Nunavut Development Corporation. They will produce authentic, hand-carved inuksuit — stone landmarks — that will be showcased as part of the 2010 Winter Games retail product line.

The new program is also intended to raise awareness of the cultures of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada.

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